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Title: Discourse on Criticism and of Poetry (1707) - From Poems On Several Occasions (1707)
Author: Cobb, Samuel
Language: English
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_Series Two:_

_Essays on Poetry and Language_


No. 1



Samuel Cobb's

Discourse on Criticism and of Poetry

from

Poems on Several Occasions (1707)



With an Introduction by

Louis I. Bredvold



The Augustan Reprint Society July, 1946


Membership in the Augustan Reprint Society entitles the subscriber to
six publications issued each year. The annual membership fee is $2.50.
Address subscriptions and communications to The Augustan Reprint Society
in care of the General Editors: Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, Michigan; or Edward N. Hooker or H.T. Swedenberg, Jr.,
University of California, Los Angeles 24, California. Editorial
Advisors: Louis I. Bredvold, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, and James L. Clifford, Columbia University, New York.



Introduction


What little is known of the life of Samuel Cobb (1675-1713) may be found
in the brief article in the _Dictionary of National Biography_ by W.P.
Courtney. He was born in London, and educated at Christ's Hospital and
at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained the degrees of B.A.,
1698, and M.A., 1702. He was appointed "under grammar master" at
Christ's Hospital in 1702 and continued his connection with this school
until his early death. He had a reputation for wit and learning, and
also for imbibing somewhat too freely. In his poetry he especially
cultivated the style of the free Pindaric ode, a predilection which won
him a mention without honor in Johnson's life of Pope (_Lives of the
Poets_, ed. Birkbeck Hill, III, 227). Even the heroic couplets of his
poem on "Poetry" aim rather at pseudo-Pindaric diffuseness than at
epigrammatic concentration of statement. As a critic Cobb deserves
attention in spite of his mediocrity, or even because of it. He helps to
fill out the picture of the literary London of his time, and his
opinions and tastes provide valuable side-lights on such greater men as
Dennis, Addison, and Pope. "Of Poetry" belongs to the prolific literary
type of "progress poems," in which the modern student finds illuminating
statements as to how the eighteenth century surveyed and evaluated past
literary traditions. The list of Cobb's publications in the _Cambridge
Bibliography_ suggests that he enjoyed some degree of popularity. His
volume, _Poems on Several Occasions_, was published in 1707, and
reprinted in enlarged form in 1709 and 1710. The reproduction herewith
of the Preface "On Criticism" and the versified discourse "Of Poetry" is
from a copy of the 1707 edition in the Newberry Library, in Chicago.

Louis I. Bredvold

University of Michigan



A DISCOURSE ON CRITICISM AND THE LIBERTY OF WRITING.


In a Letter to _Richard Carter_ Esq; late of the _Middle-Temple_, now
living in _Barbadoes_.


SIR,

_The_ Muses _are said to be the Daughters of Memory: A Poet therefore
must lay down his Title to their Favour, who can be forgetful of a
Friend, like You, whose polite Knowledge, instructive Conversation, and
particulur Generosity to my self, have left such strong Impressions upon
my Mind, as defy the Power of Absence to remove them. I scarce believe
Death it self can blot out an_ Idea _so firmly imprinted. The Soul, when
it leaves this earthly Habitation, and has no more Use for those
Vertues, which were serviceable in the Conduct of human Life, such as_
Temperance, Fortitude _and the like, will certainly carry_ Love _and_
Gratitude _along with it to Heaven. This may suffice to let the World
know what Obligations you have laid upon me.

By this Letter (the room of which, for your sake I could willingly have
supply'd) you will plainly see, that no Place, however remote, is able
to secure you from the Zeal of a_ Friend, _and the Vanity of a_ Poet.


  For tho' retiring to the _Western Isles_,
  At the long Distance of five thousand Miles,
  You've chang'd _dear London_ for your Native Seat,
  And think _Barbadoes_ is a safe Retreat;
  You highly err: Nor is the _Wat'ry Fence_
  Sufficient Guard against Impertinence.
  The _Muse_, which smiles on jingling Bards, like Me,
  Has always Winds to waft her o'er the Sea.
  Blow on, ye Winds, and o'er th' _Atlantick Main_,
  Bear to my Gen'rous Friend this thankful Strain.

_You see, Sir, I have not left off that rhyming Trick of Youth; but
knowing You to be a Gentleman who loves Variety in every thing, I
thought it would not be ungrateful if I checquer'd my Prose with a
little Verse._

_After this Preamble, it is presum'd, that one who lives on the Other
side of the Globe, will expect by every Pacquet-boat to know what is
done on This. Since Your Departure, Affairs have had a surprizing Turn
every where, and particularly in_ Italy; _which Success of our Armies
and Allies abroad, have given a manifest Proof of our wise Counsels at
home.--Parties still run between_ High _and_ Low. _I shall make no
Remarks on either; thinking it always more prudent, as well as more
safe, to live peaceably under the Government in which I was born, rather
than peevishly to quarrel with it._

_But You will cry,_ Who expects any thing from the Politicks of a Poet?
How goes the State of _Parnassus_? What has the Battle of _Ramillies_
produc'd? _What Battles generally do; bad Poets, and worse Criticks. I
could not perswade my self to attempt any thing above six Lines, which
had not been made, were it not at the Request of a Musical Gentleman.
You will look upon them with the same Countenance you us'd to do on
things of a larger Size._

  Born to surprize the World, and teach the Great
  The slippery Danger of exalted State,
  Victorious _Marlbrô_ to _Ramilly_ flies;
  Arm'd with new Lightning from bright _ANNA's_ Eyes.
  Wonders like These, no former Age has seen;
  Subjects are _Heroes_, where a Saint's the _QUEEN_.

_Mr._ Congreve _has given the World an Ode, and prefix'd to it a
Discourse on the_ Pindaric Verse, _of which more, when I come to speak
on the same Argument: There are several others on that Subject, and some
which will bear the Test; one particularly, written in imitation of the
Style of_ Spencer; _and goes under the Name of Mr._ Prior; _I have not
read it through, but_ ex pede Herculem. _He is a Gentleman who cannot
write ill. Yet some of our_ Criticks _have fell upon it, as the Viper
did on the File, to the detriment of their Teeth. So that Criticism,
which was formerly the Art of judging well, is now become the pure
Effect of Spleen, Passion and Self-conceit. Nothing is perfect in every
Part. He that expects to see any thing so, must have patience till_
Dooms-day. _The Worship we pay to our own Opinion, generally leads its
to the Contempt of another's. This blind Idolatry of_ Self _is the
Mother of Errour; and this begets a secret Vanity in our_ Modern
Censurers, _who, when they please to_ think a Meaning _for an Author,
would thereby insinuate how much his Judgment is inferiour to their
inlighten'd Sagacity. When, perhaps, the Failings they expose are a
plain Evidence of their own Blindness._

  For to display our Candour and our Sence,
  Is to discover some deep _Excellence_.
  The Critick's faulty, while the Poet's free;
  They raise the _Mole hill, who want Eyes to see_.

_Excrescences are easily perceiv'd by an ordinary Eye; but it requires
the Penetration of a_ Lynceus _to discern the Depth of a good Poem; the
secret Artfulness and Contrivance of it being conceal'd from a Vulgar
Apprehension._

_I remember somewhere an Observation of St._ Evremont _(an Author whom
you us'd to praise, and whom therefore I admire) that some Persons, who
would be Poets, which they cannot be, become Criticks which they can be.
The censorious Grin, and the loud Laugh, are common and easy things,
according to_ Juvenal; _and according to_ Scripture, _the Marks of a_
Fool. _These Men are certainly in a deplorable Condition, who cannot be
witty, but at another's Expence, and who take an unnatural kind of
Pleasure in being uneasy at their Own._

  Rules they can write, but, like the _College Tribe_,
  Take not that Physick which their Rules prescribe.
  I scorn to praise a plodding, formal Fool,
  _Insipidly_ correct, and _dull_ by Rule:
  _Homer_, with all his _Nodding_, I would chuse,
  Before the more exact _Sicilian_ Muse.
  Who'd not be _Dryden_; tho' his Faults are great,
  Sooner than our Laborious _Laureat_?
  Not but a decent Neatness, I confess,
  In _Writing_ is requir'd, as well as _Dress_.
  Yet still in both the _unaffected Air_
  Will always please the _Witty_ and the _Fair_.

_I would not here be thought to be a Patron of slovenly Negligence; for
there is nothing which breeds a greater Aversion in Men of a_ Delicate
Taste. _Yet you know, Sir, that, after all our Care and Caution, the
Weakness of our Nature will eternally mix it self in every thing we
write; and an over curious Study of being correct, enervates the Vigour
of the Mind, slackens the Spirits, and cramps the Genius of a_ Free
Writer. _He who creeps by the Shore, may shelter himself from a Storm,
but likely to make very few Discoveries: And the cautious Writer, who is
timorous of disobliging the captious Reader, may produce you true
Grammar, and unexceptionable_ Prosodia, _but most stupid Poetry._

  In vitium culpæ ducit fuga, si caret arte.

_A slavish Fear of committing an Oversight, betrays a Man to more
inextricable Errours, than the Boldness of an enterprizing Author, whose
artful Carelesness is more instructive and delightful than all the Pains
and Sweat of the Poring and Bookish Critick._

_Some Failings, like Moles in a beautiful Countenance, take nothing from
the Charms of a happy Composure, but rather heighten and improve their
Value. Were our modern Reflecters Masters of more Humanity than
Learning, and of more Discernment than both, the Authors of the Past and
Present Ages, would have no reason to complain of Injustice; nor would
that Reflection be cast upon the_ best-natur'd Nation _in the World,
that, when rude and ignorant, we were unhospitable to Strangers, and
now, being civiliz'd, we expend our Barbarity on one another_. Homer
_would not be so much the Ridicule of our_ Beaux Esprits; _when, with
all his Sleepiness, he is propos'd as the most exquisite Pattern of
Heroic Writing, by the Greatest of Philosophers, and the Best of Judges.
Nor is_ Longinus _behind hand with_ Aristotle _in his Character of the
same Author, when he tells us that the Greatness of_ Homer's _Soul
look'd above little Trifles (which are Faults in meaner Capacities) and
hurry'd on to his Subject with a Freedom of Spirit peculiar to himself.
A Racer at_ New-market _or the_ Downs, _which has been fed and drest,
and with the nicest Caution prepared for the Course, will stumble
perhaps at a little Hillock; while the Wings of_ Pegasus _bear him o'er
Hills and Mountains,_

  Sub pedibusq; videt nubes & sydera--

_Such was the Soul of_ Homer: _who is more justly admir'd by those who
understand him, than he is derided by the Ignorant: Whose Writings
partake as much of that Spirit, as he attributes to the Actions of his_
Heroes; _and whose Blindness is more truly chargeable on his_ Criticks,
_than on_ Himself: _who, as he wrote without a Rule, was himself a Rule
to succeeding Ages. Who as much deserves that Commendation which_
Alcibiades _gave to_ Socrates, _when he compar'd him to the Statues of
the_ Sileni, _which to look upon, had nothing beautiful and ornamental;
but open them, and there you might discover the Images of all the Gods
and Goddesses._

_Who knows the secret Springs of the Soul, and those sudden Emotions,
which excite illustrious Men, to act and speak out of the_ Common Road?
_They seem irregular to Us by reason of the Fondness and Bigottry we pay
to_ Custom, _which is no Standard to the Brave and the Wise. The Rules
we receive in our first Education, are laid down with this Purpose, to
restrain the_ Mind; _which by reason of the Tenderness of our Age and
the ungovernable Disposition of Young Nature, is apt to start out into
Excess and Extravagance. But when Time has ripen'd us, and Observation
has fortify'd the Soul, we ought to lay aside those common Rules with
our Leading strings; and exercise our Reason with a free, generous and
manly Spirit. Thus a_ Good Poet _should make use of a Discretionary
Command; like a_ Good General, _who may rightly wave the vulgar Precepts
of the Military School (which may confine an ordinary Capacity, and curb
the Rash and Daring) if by a new and surprizing Method of Conduct, he
find out an uncommon Way to Glory and Success._

Bocalin, _the_ Italian _Wit, among his other odd Advertisements, has
this remarkable one, which is parallel to the present Discourse. When_
Tasso _(says he) had presented_ Apollo _with his_ Poem, _call'd_
Giurasalemme Liberata; _the_ Reformer _of the_ Delphic Library, _to
whose Perusal it was committed, found fault with it, because it was not
written according to the Rules of_ Aristotle; _which affront being
complain'd of,_ Apollo _was highly incens'd, and chid_ Aristotle _for
his Presumption in daring to prescribe Laws and Rules to the high
Conceptions of the_ Virtuosi, _whose Liberty of Writing and Inventing,
enrich'd the Schools and Libraries with gallant Composures; and to
enslave the Wits of Learned Men, was to rob the World of those alluring
Charms which daily flow'd from the Productions of Poets, who follow the
Dint of their own unbounded Imagination. You will find the rest in the
28th Advertisement._

_The Moral is instructive; because to judge well and candidly, we must
wean our selves from a slavish Bigotry to the Ancients. For, tho'_ Homer
_and_ Virgil, Pindar _and_ Horace _be laid before us as Examples of
exquisite Writing in the Heroic and Lyric Kind, yet, either thro' the
Distance of Time, or Diversity of Customs, we can no more expect to find
like Capacities, than like Complexions. Let a Man follow the Talent that
Nature has furnish'd him with, and his own Observation has improv'd, we
may hope to see Inventions in all Arts, which may dispute Superiority
with the best of the_ Athenian _and_ Roman _Excellencies_.

  Nec minimum meruêre decus vestigia Græca
  Ausi deserere.----

_It is another Rule of the same Gentleman, that we should attempt
nothing beyond our Strength: There are some modern_ Milo's _who have
been wedg'd in that Timber which they strove to rend. Some have fail'd
in the Lyric Way who have been excellent in the Dramatic. And, Sir,
would you not think a Physician would gain more Profit and Reputation
by_ Hippocrates _and_ Galen _well-studied, than by_ Homer _and_ Virgil
_ill-copied?_

Horace, _who was as great a Master of Judgment, as he was an Instance of
Wit, would have laid the Errours of an establish'd Writer on a
pardonable Want of Care, or excus'd them by the Infirmity of Human
Nature; he would have wondred at the corrupt Palates now a-days, who
quarrel with their Meat, when the Fault is in their Taste. To reform
which, if our Moderns would lay aside the malicious Grin and drolling
Sneer, the Passions and Prejudices to Persons and Circumstances, we
should have better Poems, and juster Criticisms. Nothing casts a greater
Cloud on the Judgment than the Inclination (or rather Resolution) to
praise or condemn, before we see the Object. The Rich and the Great lay
a Trap for Fame, and have always a numerous Crowd of servile Dependants,
to clap their Play, or admire their Poem._

    For noble Scriblers are with Flattery fed,
  And none dare tell their Fault who eat their Bread.

                                   _Dryden's Pers.._

Juvenal _shews his Aversion to this Prepossession, when his old
disgusted Friend gives this among the rest of his Reasons why he left
the Town,_

                 --Mentiri nescio: librum
  Si malus est, nequeo laudare & poscere.

_To conquer Prejudice is the part of a Philosopher; and to discern a
Beauty is an Argument of good Sense and Sagacity; and to find a Fault
with Allowances for human Frailty, is the Property of a Gentleman._

_Who then is this Critick? You will find him in_ Quintilius Varus, _of_
Cremona, _who when any Author shew'd him his Composure, laid aside the_
Fastus _common to our supercilious Readers; and when he happen'd on any
Mistake_, Corrige sodes Hoc aiebat & hoc.

_Such is the Critick I would find, and such would I prove my self to
others. I am sorry I must go into my Enemies Country to find out another
like him. Our_ English _Criticks having taken away a great deal from the
Value of their Judgment, by dashing it with some splenetick Reflections.
Like a certain Nobleman mention'd by my Lord_ Verulam, _who when he
invited any Friends to Dinner, always gave a disrelish to the
Entertaiment by some cutting malicious Jest._

_The_ French _then seem to me to have a truer Taste of the ancient
Authors than ever_ Scaliger _or_ Heinsius _could pretend to_. Rapin,
_and above all_, Bossu, _have done more Justice to_ Homer _and to_
Virgil, _to_ Livy _and_ Thucydides, _to_ Demosthenes _and to_ Cicero,
_&c. and have bin more beneficial to the Republick of Learning, by their
nice Comparisons and Observations, than all the honest Labours of those
well-meaning Men, who rummage_ musty Manuscripts _for_ various Lections.
_They did not_ Insistere in ipso cortice, verbisq; interpretandis
intenti nihil ultra petere, (_As_ Dacier _has it_) _but search'd the
inmost Recesses, open'd their Mysteries, and (as it were) call'd the
Spirit of the Author from the Dead. It is for this_ Le Clerc _(in his_
Bibliotheque Choisie, _Tom._ 9. _p._ 328.) _commends St._ Evremont's
_Discourses on_ Salust _and_ Tacitus, _as also his Judgment on the
Ancients, and blames the Grammarians, because they give us not a Taste
of Antiquity after his Method, which would invite our Polite Gentlemen
to study it with a greater Appetite. Whereas their Manner of Writing,
which takes Notice only of Words, Customs, and chiefly Chronology, with
a blind Admiration of all they read, is unpleasant to a fine Genius, and
deters it from the pursuit of the_ Belles Lettres.

_I shall say no more at present on this Head, but proceed to give you an
Account of the following Sheets. What I have attempted in them is mostly
of the Pindaric and the Lyric Way. I have not follow'd the_ Strophe
_and_ Antistrophe; _neither do I think it necessary; besides I had
rather err with Mr._ Cowley, _who shew'd us the Way, than be flat and in
the right with others._

_Mr._ Congreve, _an ingenious Gentleman, has affirm'd, I think too
hastily, that in each particular Ode the Stanza's are alike, whereas the
last Olympic has two_ Monostrophicks _of different Measure, and Number
of Lines._

_The Pacquet-boat is just going off, I am afraid of missing Tide. You
may expect the rest on the_ Pindaric Style. _In the mean time I beg
leave to subscribe myself,_

  _Sir, Your ever Obedient and
  Obliged Servant,_

  Samuel Cobb.



_Of POETRY._

1. Its Antiquity. 2. Its Progress. 3. Its Improvement.


A POEM.

_Antiquity of Poetry_

    Sure when the Maker in his Heav'nly Breast
  Design'd a Creature to command the rest,
  Of all th' _Erected Progeny of Clay_
  His Noblest Labour was his _First Essay_.
  There shone th' Eternal Brightness, and a Mind
  Proportion'd for the Father of Mankind.
  The Vigor of Omnipotence was seen
  In his high Actions, and Imperial Mien.
  Inrich'd with Arts, unstudy'd and untaught,
  With loftiness of Soul, and dignity of Thought
  To Rule the World, and what he Rul'd to Sing,
  And be at once the Poet and the King.
  Whether his Knowledge with his breath he drew,
  And saw the Depth of Nature at a View;
  Or, new descending from th' Angelick race,
  Retain'd some tincture of his Native Place.

    Fine was the Matter of the curious Frame,
  Which lodg'd his _Fiery Guest_[1], and like the same
  Nor was a less Resemblance in his Sense,
  His Thoughts were lofty, just his Eloquence.
  Whene're He spoke, from his _Seraphick_ Tongue
  Ten Thousand comely Graces, ever young,
  With new _Calliopes_ and _Clio's_ sprung.
  No shackling Rhyme chain'd the free Poet's mind,
  Majestick was His Style, and unconfin'd.
  Vast was each Sentence, and each wondrous strain
  Sprung forth, unlabour'd, from His fruitful Brain.

[1] The Soul according to the Platonists. So _Virgil_: _Aurai
simplicis ig, nem._

    But when He yielded to deluding Charms,
  Th'Harmonious Goddess shun'd His empty Arms.
  The Muse no more his sacred Breast inspir'd,
  But to the Skies, her Ancient Seat, retir'd.
  Yet here and there _Celestial Seeds_ She threw,
  And rain'd _melodious Blessings_ as She flew.
  Which some receiv'd, whom Gracious Heav'n design'd
  For high Employments, and their Clay resin'd.
  Who, of a _Species_ more sublime, can tame
  The rushing God, and stem the rapid Flame.
  When in their breasts th'impetuous _Numen_ rowls,
  And with uncommon heaves swells their Diviner Souls.

    Thus the Companion of the Godhead [Moses] sung,
  And wrote upon those Reeds from whence he Sprung.
  He, first of Poets, told how Infant Light,
  Unknown before, dawn'd from the Womb of Night.
  How Sin and Shame th' _Unhappy Couple_ knew,
  And thro' affrighted _Eden_, more affrighted, flew.
  How God advanc'd his Darling _Abram's_ fame,
  In the sure Promise of his lengthen'd Name.
  On _Horeb's_ Top, or _Sinah's_ flaming Hill
  Familiar Heav'n reveal'd his Sacred Will.
  Unshaken then _Seth's_ stony Column stood,
  Surviving the Destruction of the Flood.
  His Father's Fall was letter'd on the Stone,
  Thence Arts, Inventions, Sciences were Known.
  Thence Divine _Moses_, with exalted thought,
  In _Hebrew_ Lines the _Worlds Beginning_ wrote.

[_The Progress of Poetry._]

    The Gift of Verse descended to the Jews,
  Inspir'd with something nobler than a Muse.
  Here _Deborah_ in fiery rapture sings,
  The Rout of Armies, and the Fall of Kings.
  Thy Torrent, _Kison_, shall for ever flow,
  Which trampled o'er the Dead, and swept away the Foe.

    With Songs of Triumph, and the Maker's praise,
  With Sounding Numbers, and united Lays,
  The Seed of _Judah_ to the Battle flew,
  And Orders of Destroying Angels drew
  To their Victorious side: Who marching round
  Their Foes, touch'd Myriads at the signal Sound,
  By Harmony they fell, and dy'd without a Wound.
  So strong is Verse Divine, when we Proclaim
  Thy Power, Eternal Light, and Sing thy Name!

[_Orpheus._]

    Nor does it here alone it's Magick show,
  But works in Hell, and binds the Fiends below.
  So powerful is the Muse! When _David_ plaid,
  The Frantick _Dæmon_ heard him, and obey'd.
  No Noise, no Hiss: the dumb Apostate lay
  Sunk in soft silence, and dissolv'd away.
  Nor was this Miracle of Verse confin'd
  To _Jews_ alone: For in a Heathen mind
  Some strokes appear: Thus _Orpheus_ was inspir'd,
  Inchanting _Syrens_ at his Song retir'd.
  To Rocks and Seas he the curst Maids pursu'd,
  And their strong Charms, by stronger Charms subdu'd.

[_Homer._]

    But _Greece_ was honour'd with a Greater Name,
  _Homer_ is _Greece's_ Glory and her Shame.
  How could Learn'd _Athens_ with contempt refuse,
  Th' immortal labours of so vast a Muse?
  Thee, _Colophon_, his angry Ghost upbraids,
  While his loud Numbers charm th' Infernal Shades.
  Ungrateful Cities! Which could vainly strive
  For the Dead _Homer_, whom they scorn'd Alive.
  So strangely wretched is the Poet's Doom!
  To Wither here, and Flourish in the Tomb.

    Tho' _Virgil_ rising under happier Stars,
  Saw _Rome_ succeed in Learning as in Wars.
  When _Pollio_, like a smiling Planet, shone,
  And _Cæsar_ darted on him, like the Sun.
  Nor did _Mecænas_, gain a less repute,
  When Tuneful _Flaccus_ touch'd the _Roman_ Lute.

    But when, _Mecænas_, will Thy Star appear
  In our low Orb, and gild the _British_ Sphere?
  Say, art Thou come, and, to deceive our Eyes
  Dissembled under _DORSET's_ fair Disguise?
  If so; go on, Great _Sackvile_, to regard
  The Poet, and th'imploring Muse reward.
  So to Thy Fame a _Pyramid_ shall rise,
  Nor shall the Poet fix thee in the Skies.
  For if a Verse Eternity can claim,
  Thy Own are able to preserve thy Name.
  This Province all is Thine, o'er which in vain
  _Octavius_ hover'd long, and sought to Reign.
  This Sun prevail'd upon his Eagle's sight,
  Glar'd in their Royal Eyes, and stop'd their flight.
  Let him his Title to such Glory bring,
  You give as freely, and more nobly sing.
  Reason will judge, when both their Claims produce,
  He shall his Empire boast, and Thou the Muse.
  _Horace_ and He are in Thy Nature joyn'd,
  The Patron's Bounty with the Poet's Mind.

    O Light of _England_, and her highest Grace!
  Thou best and greatest of thy Ancient Race!
  Descend, when I invoke thy Name, to shine
  (For 'tis thy Praise) on each unworthy Line,
  While to the World, unprejudic'd, I tell
  The noblest Poets, and who most excel.
  Thee with the Foremost thro' the Globe I send,
  Far as the British Arms or Memory extend.

  But 'twould be vain, and tedious, to reherse
  The meaner Croud, undignify'd for Verse
  On barren ground who drag th'unwilling Plough,
  And feel the Sweat of Brain as well as Brow.
  A Crew so vile, which, soon as read, displease,
  May Slumber in forgetfulness and ease,
  Till fresher Dulness wakes their sleeping Memories.

    Some stuff'd in Garrets dream for wicked Rhyme
  Where nothing but their Lodging is sublime.
  Observe their twenty faces, how they strain
  To void forth Nonsense from their costive Brain.
  Who (when they've murder'd so much costly time,
  Beat the vext Anvil with continual chime,
  And labour'd hard to hammer statutable Rhyme)
  Create a _BRITISH PRINCE_; as hard a task,
  As would a _Cowley_ or a _Milton_ ask,
  To build a Poem of the vastest price,
  A _DAVIDEIS_, or _LOST PARADISE_.
  So tho' a Beauty of _Imperial Mien_
  May labour with a Heroe, or a Queen,
  The Dowdie's Offspring, of the freckled strain,
  Shall cause like Travail, and as great a Pain.

    Such to the Rabble may appear inspir'd,
  By Coxcombs envy'd, and by Fools admir'd.
  I pity Madmen who attempt to fly,
  And raise their _Airy Babel_ to the Sky.
  Who, arm'd with Gabble, to create a Name,
  Design a Beauty, and a Monster frame,
  Not so the Seat of _Phoebus_ role, which lay
  In Ruins buried, and a long Decay.
  To _Britany_ the Temple was convey'd,
  By Natures utmost force, and more than Human Aid.
  Built from the _Basis_ by a noble Few,
  The stately Fabrick in perfection view.
  While Nature gazes on the polish'd piece,
  The Work of many rowling Centuries.

   For Joyn'd with Art She labour'd long to raise
  An _English_ Poet, meriting the Bays.
  How vain a Toil! Since Authors first were known
  For _Greek_ and _Latin_ Tongues, but scorn'd their Own.

   As _Moors_ of old, near _Guinea's_ precious Shore,
  For glittering Brass exchang'd their shining Oar.
  Involving Darkness did our Language shrowd,
  Nor could we view the Goddess thro' the Cloud.

[_Chaucer_ and _Spencer_]

    Sunk in a Sea of Ignorance we lay,
  Till _Chaucer_ rose, and pointed out the Day.
  A joking Bard, whose antiquated Muse
  In mouldy words could Solid sense produce.
  Our _English Ennius_ He, who claim'd his part
  In wealthy Nature, tho' unskil'd in Art.
  The sparkling Diamond on his Dunghil shines,
  And golden fragments glitter in his Lines.
  Which _Spencer_ gather'd, for his Learning known,
  And by successful gleanings made his Own.
  So careful Bees, on a fair Summer's Day,
  Hum o'er the Flowers, and suck the sweets away.
  O had thy Poet, _Britany_, rely'd
  On native Strength, and Foreign Aid deny'd!
  Had not wild Fairies blasted his Design,
  _Mæanides_ and _Virgil_ had been Thine!
  Their Finish'd Poems He exactly view'd,
  But _Chaucer's_ steps _religiously_ pursu'd.

[_Ben. Johnson_.]

    He cull'd, and pick'd, and thought it greater praise
  T'adore his Master, than improve his Phrase;
  'Twas counted Sin to deviate from his Page;
  So secred was th' Authority of Age!
  The Coyn must sure for _currant Sterling_ pass,
  Stamp'd with old _Chaucer's Venerable Face_.
  But _Johnson_ found it of a gross _Alloy_,
  Melted it down, and slung the Dross away
  He dug pure Silver from a _Roman Mine_,
  And prest his Sacred Image on the Coyn.
  We all rejoyc'd to see the pillag'd Oar,
  Our Tongue inrich'd, which was so poor before.
  Fear not, Learn'd Poet, our impartial blame,
  Such Thefts as these add Lustre to thy Name.
  Whether thy labour'd Comedies betray
  The Sweat of _Terence_, in thy Glorious way,
  Or _Catliine_ plots better in thy Play.
  Whether his Crimes more excellently shine,
  Whether we hear the Consul's Voice Divine,
  And doubt which merits most, _Rome's Cicero_, or Thine.
  All yield, consenting to sustain the Yoke,
  And learn the Language which the Victor spoke.
  So _Macedon's Imperial Hero_ threw
  His wings abroad, and conquer'd as he flew.
  Great _Johnson's_ Deeds stand Parallel with His,
  Were _Noble Thefts, Successful Pyracies_.

    Souls of a Heroe's, or a Poet's Frame
  Are fill'd with larger particles of flame.
  Scorning confinement, for more Land they groan,
  And stretch beyond the Limits of their Own.

[_Fletcher_ and _Beaument_]

    _Fletcher_, whose Wit, like some luxuriant Vine,
  Profusely wanton'd in each golden Line.
  Who, prodigal of Sense, by _Beaumont's_ care,
  Was prun'd so wisely, and became so fair.
  Could from his copious Brain new Humours bring,
  A _bragging Bessus_, or _inconstant King_.
  Could Laughter thence, here melting pity raise
  In his _Amyntors_, and _Aspasia's_.
  But _Rome_ and _Athens_ must the Plots produce
  With _France_, the Handmaid of the _English_ Muse

[_Shakespear_.]

    Ev'n _Shakespear_ sweated in his narrow Isle,
  And Subject _Italy_ obey'd his Stile.
  _Boccace_ and _Cinthio_ must a tribute pay,
  T'inrich his Scenes, and furnish out a Play.
  Tho' Art ne're taught him how to write by Rules,
  Or borrow Learning from _Athenian_ Schools:
  Yet He, with _Plautus_, could instruct and please,
  And what requir'd long toil, perform with ease.
  By inborn strength so _Theseus_ bent the Pine,
  Which cost _the Robber_ many Years Design[2].

[2] _See Plutarch's Life of Theseus_.

    Tho' sometimes rude, unpolish'd and undrest
  His Sentence flows, more careless than the rest.
  Yet, when his Muse, complying with his will,
  Deigns with informing heat his Breast to fill,
  Then hear him thunder in the Pompous strain
  Of _Æschylus_, or sooth in _Ovid's_ vein.
  I feel a Pity working in my Eyes,
  When _Desdemona_ by _Othello_ dyes.
  When I view _Brutus_ in his Dress appear;
  I know not how to call him too severe.
  His _rigid Vertue_ there attories for all,
  And makes a Sacrifice of _Cæsar's_ Fall.

[_Cowley_.]

    Nature work'd Wonders then; when _Shakespear_ dy'd
  Her _Cowley_ rose, drest in her gaudy Pride.
  So from great Ruins a new Life she calls,
  And Builds an _Ovid[3]_ when a _Tully_ Falls.

[3] _Ovid_ was born the same year in which _Cicero_ dy'd.

    With what Delight he tunes his Silver-Strings,
  And _David's_ Toils in _David's_ numbers Sings?
  Hark! how he Murmurs to the Fields and Groves,
  His rural Pleasures, and his various Loves,
  Yet every Line so Innocent and Clear,
  _Hermits_ may read them to a Virgin's Ear.
  Unstoln _Promethean_ Fire informs his Song,
  Rich is his Fancy, his Invention strong.
  His Wit, unfathom'd, has a fresh Supply,
  Is always flowing-out, but never Dry.

  Sure the profuseness of a boundless Thought,
  Unjustly is imputed for a Fault.
  A Spirit, that is unconfin'd and free,
  Should hurry forward, like the Wind or Sea.
  Which laughs at Laws and Shackles, when a Vain
  Presuming _Xerxes_ shall pretend to Reign,
  And on the flitting Air impose his pond'rous Chain.

    Hail _English_ Swan? for You alone could dare
  With well-pois'd Pinions tempt th' unbounded Air:
  And to your Lute _Pindaric_ Numbers call,
  Nor fear the Danger of a _threatned Fall_.
  O had You liv'd to _Waller's_ Reverend Age,
  Better'd your Measures, and reform'd your Page!
  Then _Britain's_ Isle might raise her Trophies high,
  And _Solid Rome_, or _Witty Greece_ outvy.
  The _Rhine_, the _Tyber_, and _Parisian Sein_,
  When e're they pay their Tribute to the Main,
  Should no sweet Song more willingly rehearse,
  Than gentle _Cowley's_ never-dying Verse.
  The _Thames_ should sweep his briny way before,
  And with his Name salute each distant Shore.

[_Milton._]

    Then You, like Glorious _Milton_ had been known
  To Lands which Conquest has insur'd our Own.
  _Milton_! whose Muse Kisses th' embroider'd Skies,
  While Earth below grows little, as She Flies.
  Thro' trackless Air she bends her winding Flight,
  Far as the Confines of retreating Light.
  Tells the _sindg'd Moor_, how scepter'd Death began
  His Lengthning Empire o'er offending Man.
  Unteaches conquer'd Nations to Rebel,
  By Singing how their Stubborn Parents fell.

    Now _Seraphs_ crown'd with _Helmets_ I behold,
  _Helmets_ of Substance more refin'd than Gold:
  The Skies with an united Lustre shine,
  And Face to Face th' Immortal Armies joyn.
  God's _plated Son, Majestically gay_,
  Urges his Chariot thro' the Chrystal-Way
  Breaks down their Ranks, and Thunders, as he Flies,
  Arms in his Hands, and Terrour in his Eyes.
  O'er Heav'ns wide Arch the routed Squadrons Rore,
  And transfix d Angels groan upon the _Diamond-Floor_.
  Then, wheeling from _Olympus_ Snowy top,
  Thro' the scorch'd Air the giddy Leaders drop
  Down to th' Abyss of their allotted Hell,
  And gaze on the lost Skies from whence they Fell.

    I see the Fiend, who tumbled from his Sphere
  Once by the _Victor God_, begins to fear
  New Lightning, and a Second Thunderer.
  I hear him Yell, and argue with the Skies,
  _Was't not enough, Relentless Power_! he cries,
  _Despair of better state, and loss of Light
  Irreparable? Was not loathsom Night
  And ever-during Dark sufficient Pain,
  But Man must Triumph, by our Fall to Reign,
  And Register the Fate which we Sustain?
  Hence Hell is doubly Ours: Almighty Name
  Hence, after Thine, we feel the_ Poet's _Flame
  And in Immortal Song renew Reviving shame_.

  O Soul _Seraphick_, teach us how we may
  Thy Praise adapted to thy Worth display,
  For who can Merit more? or who enough can Pay?
  Earth was unworthy Your aspiring View,
  Sublimer Objects were reserv'd for You.
  Thence Nothing mean obtrudes on Your Design,
  Your Style is equal to Your Theme Divine,
  All Heavenly great, and more than Masculine.
  Tho' neither Vernal Bloom, nor Summer's Rose
  Their op'ning Beauties could to Thee disclose.
  Tho' Nature's curious Characters, which we
  Exactly view, were all eras'd to Thee.
  Yet Heav'n stood Witness to Thy piercing sight,
  Below was Darkness, but Above was Light:
  Thy Soul was Brightness all; nor would it stay
  In nether Night, and such a want of Day.
  But wing'd aloft from sordid Earth retires
  To upper Glory, and its kindred-Fires:
  Like an unhooded _Hawk_, who, loose to Prey,
  With open Eyes pursues th' Ethereal Way.
  There, Happy Soul, assume thy destin'd Place,
  And in yon Sphere begin thy glorious Race:
  Or, if amongst the Laurel'd Heads there be
  A Mansion in the Skies reserv'd for Thee,
  There Ruler of thy Orb aloft appear,
  And rowl with _Homer_ in the brightest Sphere;
  To whom _Calliope_ has joyn'd thy Name,
  And recompens'd thy Fortunes with his Fame.

[_Waller_.]

    Tho' She (forgive our freedom) sometimes Flows
  In Lines too Rugged, and akin to Prose.
  Verse with a lively smoothness should be Wrote,
  When room is granted to the Speech and Thought.
  Like some fair Planet, the Majestick Song
  Should gently move, and sparkle as it rowls along.
  Like _Waller's_ Muse, who tho' inchain'd by Rhime,
  Taught wondring Poets to keep even Chime.
  His Praise inflames my breast, and should be shown
  In Numbers sweet and _Courtly_ as his Own.
  Who no unmanly _Turns_ of Thought pursues,
  Rash Errours of an injudicious Muse.
  Such Wit, like Lightning, for a while looks Gay,
  Just gilds the Place, and vanishes away.
  In one continu'd blaze He upwards sprung,
  Like those _Seraphick_ flames of which He Sung.
  If, _Cromwel_, he laments thy Mighty Fall
  Nature attending Weeps at the _Great Funeral_.
  Or if his Muse with joyful Triumph brings
  the Monarch to His Ancient Throne, or Sings
  _Batavians_ worsted on the Conquer'd Main,
  Fleets flying, and advent'rous _Opdam_ Slain,
  Then _Rome_ and _Athens_ to his Song repair
  With _British_ Graces smiling on his Care,
  Divinely charming in a Dress so Fair.
  As Squadrons in well-Marshal'd order fill
  The _Flandrian Plains_, and speak no vulgar Skill;
  So Rank'd is every Line, each Sentence such,
  No Word is wanting, and no Word's too much.
  As Pearls in Gold with their own Lustre Shine,
  The Substance precious, and the Work Divine:
  So did his Words his Beauteous Thoughts inchase,
  Both shone and sparkled with unborrow'd Grace,
  A mighty Value in a little Space.
  So the _Venusian Clio_ sung of Old,
  When lofty Acts in well-chose Phrase he told.
  But _Rome's_ aspiring _Lyrick_ pleas'd us less,
  Sung not so moving, tho' with more Success.
  O _Sacharissa_, what could steel thy Breast,
  To Rob _Harmonious Waller_ of his Rest?
  To send him Murm'ring thro' the _Cypress_-Grove,
  In strains lamenting his neglected Love.
  Th' attentive Forest did his Grief partake,
  And Sympathizing Oaks their knotted Branches shake.
  Each Nymph, tho' Coy, to Pity would incline;
  And every stubborn Heart was mov'd, but Thine.
  Henceforth be Thou to future Ages known;
  Like _Niobe_, a Monument of Stone.

    Here could I dwell, like Bees on Flowry Dew,
  And _Waller's_ praise Eternally pursue,
  Could I, like Him, in Harmony excel,
  So sweetly strike the Lute, and Sing so Well.

    But now the forward Muse converts her Eye
  To see where _Denham_, and _Roscommon_ fly,
  Cautiously daring, and correctly High.
  Both chief in Honour, and in Learning's Grace,
  Of Ancient Spirit, and of Ancient Race.
  Who, when withdrawn from Business, and Affairs,
  Their Minds unloaded of tormenting Cares,
  With soothing Verse deceiv'd the sliding Time,
  And, unrewarded, Sung in Noble Rhyme.
  Not like those Venal Bards, who Write for Pence,
  Above the Vulgar were their Names and Sense,
  The _Critick_ judges what the _Muse_ indites,
  And Rules for _Dryden_, like a _Dryden_, Writes.
  'Tis true their Lamps were of the smallest Size,
  But like the _Stoicks_[4], of prodigious Price.
  _Roscommon's_ Rules shall o'er our Isle be Read,
  Nor Dye, till Poetry itself be Dead.
  Fam'd _Cooper's Hill_ shall, like _Parnassus_, stand,
  And _Denham_ reign, the _Phæbus_ of the Land.

[4] _Epictetus._

    Among these sacred and immortal Names, [_Oldham_.]
  A Youth glares out, and his just Honour claims;
  See circling Flames, in stead of Laurel, play
  Around his Head, and Sun the brighten'd Way.
  But misty Clouds of unexpected Night,
  Cast their black Mantle o'er th' immoderate Light.
  Here, pious Muse, lament a While; 'tis just
  We pay some Tribute to his sacred Dust.
  O'er his fresh Marble strow the fading Rose
  And Lilly, for his Youth resembled those.
  The brooding Sun took care to dress him Gay,
  In all the Trappings of the flowry _May_.
  He set him out unsufferably bright,
  And sow'd in every part his beamy Light.
  Th' unfinish'd Poet budded forth too soon,
  For what the Morning warm'd; was scorch'd at Noon.

    His careless Lines plain Nature's Rules obey,
  Like _Satyrs_ Rough, but not Deform'd as they.
  His Sense undrest, like _Adam_, free from Blame,
  Without his Cloathing, and without his Shame,
  True Wit requires no Ornaments of skill,
  A Beauty naked, is a Beauty still.

    Warm'd with just Rage he lash'd the _Romish_ Crimes,
  In rugged _Satyr_ and ill-sounding Rhymes.
  All _Italy_ felt his imbitter'd Tongue,
  And trembled less when sharp _Lucilius_ Stung.
  Here let us pass in Silence, nor accuse
  Th' extravagance of his Unhallow'd Muse.
  In _Jordan's_ stream she wash'd the tainted Sore,
  And rose more Beauteous than She was before.

[_Lee._]

    Then Fancy curb'd began to Cool her Rage,
  And Sparks of Judgment glimmer'd in his Page,
  When the wild Fury did his Breast inspire,
  She rav'd, and set the Little World on Fire.
  Thus _Lee_ by Reason strove not to controul
  That powerful heat which o'er-inform'd his Soul.
  He took his swing, and Nature's bounds surpast,
  Stretch'd her, and bent her, till she broke at last.
  I scorn to Flatter, or the Dead defame;
  But who will call a Blaze a Lambent Flame?

[_Otway._ and _Dryden._]

    Terrour and Pity are allow'd to be,
  The moving parts of Tragic Poetry.
  If Pity sooths us, _Otway_ claims our Praise;
  If Terrour strikes, then _Lee_ deserves the Bays.
  We grant a Genius shines in _Jaffeir's_ Part,
  And _Roman Brutus_ speaks a Master's Art.
  But still we often Mourn to see their Phrase
  An Earthly Vapour, or at Mounting Blaze.
  A rising Meteor never was design'd,
  T'amaze the sober part of Human kind.
  Were I to write for Fame, I would not chuse
  A Prostitute and Mercenary Muse.
  Which for poor Gains must in rich Trappings go,
  Emptily Gay, magnificently Low,
  Like Ancient _Rome's_ Religion, Sacrifice and Show.
  Things fashion'd for amusement and surprize,
  Ne'er move the Head, tho' they divert the Eyes.
  The Mouthing Actors well-dissembled Rage,
  May please the Young _Sir Foplings_ on the Stage.
  But, disingag'd, the swelling Phrase I find
  Like _Spencer's_ Giant sunk away in Wind.
  It grates judicious Readers when they meet
  Nothing but jingling Verse, and even Feet.
  Such false, such counterfeited Wings as these,
  Forsake th' unguided Boy, and plunge him in the Seas.
  _Lee_ aim'd to rise above great _Dryden's_ Height,
  But lofty _Dryden_ keeps a steddy Flight.
  Like Dædalus, he times with prudent Care
  His well-wax'd Wings, and Waves in Middle Air.
  The Native Spark, which first advanc'd his Name,
  By industry he kindled to a Flame.
  The proper Phrase of our exalted Tongue
  To such Perfection from his Numbers sprung.
  His Tropes continu'd, and his Figures fine,
  _All of a Piece throughout, and all Divine._
  His _Images_ so strong and lively be,
  I hear not Words alone, but Substance see;
  Adapted Speech, and just Expressions move
  Our various Passions, Pity, Rage and Love.
  I weep to hear fond _Anthony_ complain
  In _Shakespear's_ Fancy, but in _Virgil's_ Strain.

    Tho' for the Comick, others we prefer,
  Himself[5] the Judge; nor do's his Judgment Err.
  But Comedy, 'tis Thought, can never claim
  The sounding Title of a Poem's Name.
  For Raillery, and what creates a Smile
  Betrays no lofty Genius, nor a Style.
  That _Heav'nly Heat_ refuses to be seen
  In a Town-Character and Comick Mien.

[5] See Preface to _Aurengzebe_.

    If we would do him right, we must produce
  The _Sophoclean Buskin_; when his Muse
  With her loud Accents fills the list'ning Ear,
  And _Peals_ applauding shake the Theater.

    They fondly seek, Great Name, to blast thy Praise,
  Who think that Foreign Thanks produc'd thy Bays.
  Is he oblig'd to _France_, who draws from thence
  By _English_ Energy, their Captive Sense?
  Tho' _Edward_ and fam'd _Henry_ Warr'd in vain,
  Subduing what they could not long retain:
  Yet now beyond our Arms the Muse prevails,
  And Poets Conquer where the Hero fails.

  This does superiour excellence betray;
  O could I Write in thy Immortal Way!
  If Art be Nature's Scholar, and can make
  Such vast improvements, Nature must forsake
  Her Ancient Style; and in some grand Design
  She must her Own Originals decline,
  And for the Noblest Copies follow Thine.
  Pardon this just transition to thy Praise,
  Which Young _Thalia_ sung in Rural Lays.

    As Sleep to weary Drovers on the Plain
  As a sweet River to a thirsty Swain,
  Such _Tityrus's_ charming Number show,
  Please like the River, like the River flow.
  When his first Years in mighty Order ran,
  And cradled Infancy bespoke the Man,
  Around his Lips the _Waxen Artists_ hung,
  And drop'd ambrosial Dew upon his Tongue.
  Then from his Mouth harmonious Numbers broke,
  More sweet than Honey from a hollow Oke.
  Pleasant as streams which from a Mountain Glide,
  Yet lofty as the Top from whence they slide.

    Long He possest th' Hereditary Plains,
  Admir'd by all the Herdsmen and the Swains.
  Till he resign'd his Flock, opprest with cares,
  Weaken'd by num'rous Woes, and grey with Years.
  Yet still, like _Ætna's_ _Mount_, he kept his Fire,
  And look'd like beauteous Roses on a Brier.
  He smil'd, like _Phoebus_ in a Stormy Morn,
  And sung, like _Philomel_ against a Thorn.

    Here _Syren of sweet Poesy_, receive
  That little praise my unknown Muse can give.
  Thou shalt immortal be, no Censure fear
  Tho' angry _B----more_ in Heroicks jeer.

    A Bard, who seems to challenge _Virgil's_ Flame,
  And would be next in Majesty and Name.
  With lofty _Maro_ he at first may please;
  The Righteous _Briton_ rises by degrees.
  But once on Wing, thro' secret Paths he rows,
  And leaves his Guide, or follows him too close,
  The _Mantuan_ Swan keeps a soft gentle Flight,
  Is always Tow'ring, but still Plays in Sight.
  Calm and Serene his Verse; his active Song
  Runs smooth as _Thames's_ River, and as strong.
  Like his own _Neptune_ he the Waves confines,
  While _Bl----re_ rumbles, like the King of Winds.
  His flat Descriptions, void of Manly Strength,
  Jade out our Patience with excessive length.
  While Readers, Yawning o'er his _Arthurs_ see
  Whole Pages spun on one poor _Simile_.
  We grant he labours with no want of Brains,
  Or Fire, or Spirit; but He spares the Pains,
  One happy Thought, or two, may at a Heat
  Be struck, but Time and Study must compleat
  A Verse, sublimely Good, and justly Great.
  It call'd for an Omnipotence to raise
  The _World's_ _Imperial Poem_ in Six Days.
  But Man, that offspring of corrupting Clay,
  Subject to Err, and Subject to Decay:
  In Hopes, Desires, Will, Power, a numerous Train,
  Uncertain, Fickle, Impotent and Vain:
  Must tire the Heav'nly Muse with endless Prayer,
  And call the smiling Angels to his care.
  Must sleep less Nights, _Vulcanian_ Labours prove,
  Like _Cyclops_, forging Thunder for a _Jove_.
  With Flame begin thy Glorious Thoughts and Style,
  Then Cool, and bring them to the smoothing File.
  If You design to make Your Prince appear
  As perfect as Humanity can bear.
  Whom Vertues at th' expence of Danger please,
  Deaf to the _Syrens_ of alluring ease.
  No Terrours Thee, _Achilles_, could invade,
  Nor Thee, _Ulysses_, any Charms persuade.
  This must be done, if Poets would be Read,
  Who seek to emulate the Sacred Dead.

    Thus in bright Numbers and well polish'd Strains
  _Virgilian Addison_ describes _Campaigns_.
  Whose Verse, like a proportion'd Man, we find,
  Not of the _Gyant_, nor the _Pygmy_ kind.
  Such Symmetry appears o'er all the Song,
  Lofty with justness, and with Caution strong.

    This _Congreve_ follows in his Deathless Line,
  And the _Tenth Hand_ is put to the Design.
  The Happy boldness of his Finish'd Toil
  Claims more than _Shakespear's_ Wit, or _Johnson's_ Oil.
  Sing on, _Harmonious Swan_, in weeping strains,
  And tell _Pastora's_ Death to mournful Swains.
  Or with more pleasing Charms, with softer Airs
  Sweeten our Passions, and delude our Cares.
  Or let thy _Satyr_ grin with half a Smile,
  And jeer in _Easy Etherege's_ Style.
  Let _Manly Wycherly_ chalk out the Way,
  And Art direct, where Nature goes astray.
  'Tis not for Thee to Write of Conqu'ring Kings,
  The Noise of Arms will break thy Am'rous Strings.

    The _Teian Muse_ invites Thee from above
  To lay Thy Trumpet down, and sing of Love.
  Let _MONTAGUE_ describe _Boyn's_ swelling Flood
  And purple Streams fatned with Hostile Blood.
  O Heavenly Patron of the needy Muse!
  Whose powerful Name can nobler heat infuse.
  When You _Nassau's_ bright Actions dar'd to see,
  _You_ was the _Eagle_, and _Apollo He_.
  But when He read You, and Your Value knew,
  _He_ was the _Eagle_, and _Apollo You_.
  Both spoke the Bird in her _Æthereal_ height,
  The _Majesty_ was _His_, and _Thine_ the _Flight_.
  Both did _Apollo_ in His Glory shew,
  The Silver _Harp_ was _Thine_, and _His_ the _Bow_,

    So may _Pierian Clio_ cease to fear,
  When _Honour_ deigns to sing, and _Majesty_ to hear!
  So may she favour'd live, and always please
  Our _Dorset's_, and Judicious _Normanby's_!

    Nor does the _Coronet_ alone defend
  The Muses Cause: The _Miter_ is Her Friend.
  Can we forget how _Damon's_ lofty Tongue
  Shook the glad Mountains? how the Valleys rung
  When _Rochester's Seraphick Shepherd_ Sung.
  How _Mars_ and _Pallas_ wept to see the Day
  When _Athens_ by a Plague dispeopled lay.
  What Learning perish'd, and what Lives it cost!
  Sung with more Spirit than all _Athens_ lost.
  Nor can the _Miter_ now conceal the Bays,
  For still we view the _Sacred Poet's_ praise.
  So tho' _Eridanus_ becomes a Star
  Exalted to the Skies, and shines afar,
  Below he loses nothing but his Name,
  Still faithful to his Banks, his Stream's the same.

    But smile, my Muse, once more upon my Song,
  Let _Creech_ be numbred with the Sacred Throng.
  Whose daring Muse could with _Manilius_ fly,
  And, like an _Atlas_, shoulder up the Sky.
  He's mounted, where no vulgar Eye can trace
  His Wondrous footsteps and mysterious race.
  See, how He walks above in mighty strains,
  And wanders o'er the wide Ethereal Plains!
  He sings what Harmony the Spheres obey,
  In Verse more tuneful, and more sweet than they.

    'Tis cause of Triumph, when _Rome's_ Genius shines
  In nervous _English_, and well-worded Lines.
  Two Famous _Latins_[6] our bright Tongue adorn,
  And a new _Virgil_[7] is in _England_ born.
  An _Æneid_ to translate, and make a new,
  Are Tasks of equal Labour to pursue.

[6] _Lucretius_ and _Manilius_.

[7] Mr. _Dryden's_ _Virgil_.

    For tho' th' Invention of a Godlike Mind
  Excels the Works of Nature, and Mankind;
  Yet a well-languag'd Version will require
  An equal _Genius_, and as strong a Fire.
  These claim at once our Study and our Praise,
  Fam'd for the Dignity of Sense and Phrase.
  These gainful to the Stationer, shall stand
  At _Paul's_ or _Cornhill_, _Fleetstreet_ or the _Strand_.
  Shall wander far and near, and cross the Seas,
  An Ornament to _Foreign Libraries_.

    Hail, Glorious Titles! who have been my _Theme_!
  O could I write so well as I esteem!
  From her low Nest my humble Soul shou'd rise
  As a young _Phoenix_ out of Ashes flies
  Above what _France_ or _Italy_ can shew,
  The Celebrated _Tasso_, or _Boileau_.

    Come You, where'er you be, who seek to find
  Something to pleasure, and instruct your Mind:
  If, when retir'd from Bus'ness, or from Men,
  You love the _Labour'd Travels_ of the Pen;
  Imploy the Minutes of your vacant Time
  On _Cowley_, or on _Dryden's_ useful Rhyme:
  Or whom besides of all the Tribe you chuse,
  The _Tragick, Lyrick_, or _Heroick_ Muse:
  For they, if well observ'd, will strictly shew
  In _Charming Numbers_, what is false, what true,
  And teach more good than _Hobbs_ or _Lock_ can do.

    Hail, ye _Poetick Dead_, who wander now
  In Fields of Light! at your fair Shrines we bow.
  Freed from the Malice of Injurious Fate,
  Ye blest Partakers of a happier State!
  Whether Intomb'd with _English Kings_ you sleep,
  Or Common Urns your Sacred Ashes keep:
  There, on each Dawning of the tender Day,
  May Tuneful Birds their pious Off'rings pay!
  There may sweet Myrrh with Balmy Tears perfume
  The hallow'd Ground, and Roses deck the Tomb.

    While You, Who live, no frowning Tempest fear,
  Sing on; let _Montague_ and _Dorset_ hear.
  In Stately Verse let _William's_ Praise be told,
  WILLIAM rewards with Honour and with Gold.
  No more of _Richelieu's_ Worth: Forget not, Fame,
  To change _Augustus_ for Great _William's_ Name.
  Who, tho' like _Homer's_ _Jupiter_, he sate,
  Musing on something eminently great
  And ballanc'd in his Mind the World's important Fate;
  Lays by the vast Concern, and gladly hears
  The loud-sung Triumphs of his Warlike Years.
  Whether this Praise to _Stepny's_ Muse belong,
  Or _Prior_ claim it for _Pindarick Song_.
  The sleeping Dooms of Empire were delay'd,
  And Fate stood silent while the Poet play'd.
  The double Vertue of _Nassovian Fire_
  At once the Soldier and the Bard inspire.
  The Hero listen'd when the Canons rung
  A Fatal Peal, or when the Harp was strung,
  When _Mars_ has Acted, or when _Phoebus_ Sung.

    O cou'd my Muse reach _Milton's_ tow'ring Flight,
  Or stretch her Wings to the _Mæonian_ Height!
  Thro' Air, and Earth, and Seas, I wou'd disperse
  His Fame, and sing it in the loudest Verse.
  The rowling Waves to hear me shou'd grow tame,
  And Winds should calm a Tempest with his Name
  But we must all decline: The Muse grows dumb,
  Not weary'd with his Praise, but overcome.
  Who shall describe Him? or what Eye can trace
  The Matchless Glories of his Princely Race?
  What Prince can equal what no Muse can praise?
  No Land but _Britain_, must pretend to shine
  With Gods and Heroes of an equal Line.
  So may this Island a new _Delos_ prove,
  Joyn[8] Young _Apollo_ to the _Cretan Jove_!
  What Bloom! what Youth! what Hopes of future Fame!
  How his Eyes sparkle with a Heav'nly Flame!
  How swiftly _Gloster_ in his Bud began!
  How the _Green Hero_ blossoms into Man!
  Smit with the Thirst of Fame, and Honour's Charms,
  To tread his Uncle's Steps, and shine in Arms:
  See, how he Spurs, and Rushes to the War!
  Pale Legions view, and tremble from afar,
  What Blood! what Ruin! Thrice unhappy They
  Who shall attempt him on that fatal Day.
  _Edwards_ and _Harry's_ to his Eyes appear
  In Warlike form, and shake the glitt'ring Spear.
  At _Agincourt_ so terrible they stood,
  So when _Pictavian_ Fields were dy'd with Blood.
  The Royal Youth with Emulation glows,
  And pours thick Vengeance on his ghastly Foes.
  Troops of Commission'd Angels from the Sky,
  Unseen, above Him, and about Him, Fly.
  O'er _England's_ Hopes their flaming Swords they hold,
  And wave them, as o'er Paradise of Old.
  Nor shall they cease a Nightly Watch to keep,
  But, ever waking, bless him in his Sleep.
  Their Golden Wings for his Pavilion spread,
  Their softest Mantles for his Downy Bed,
  Defend the Sacred Youth's Imperial Head.

[8] _The Duke of_ Glouceiter. _Here the Author laments he
prov'd so bad a Prophet_.

    After whose Conquests, and the Work of Fate,
  The Arts and Muses on his Triumph wait.
  The Streams of _Thamisis_, exulting, Ring,
  When fair _Augusta's_ lofty _Clio's_ Sing
  _Granta_ and _Rhedycina's_ Tuneful Throng
  Fill the resounding Vales with Learned Song.

    Live, Heav'nly Youth, beyond invidious Time,
  Adorning Annals, and immortal Rhyme.
  Thy Glories, which no Malice can obscure,
  Bright as the Sun, shall as the Sun endure.
  But on thy Fame no envious spots shall prey,
  Till _English_ Sense and Valour shall decay.
  Till Learning and the Muses Mortal grow,
  Or _Cam_ or _Isis_ shall forget to Flow.





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